Posts Tagged ‘The Navigator’

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Last year, Hurray for the Riff Raff released the much-buzzed-about track “Pa’lante,” a rousing reckoning with Latin identity, as well as lyricist Alynda Segarra’s own past. The song, one of our favorite tracks of 2017, It is stirring, multilayered and emotionally heavy to say the least. The band released an eight-minute short film about a working-class Puerto Rican family, with a spliced-up version of “Pa’lante” providing a sweeping soundtrack. The phrase “Pa’lante” translates roughly to “step forward” in Puerto Rican slang, and, with the wreckage of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as a visual backdrop, it feels more like a call to arms than anything else.

Alongside a collage of other Puerto Rican faces, the video stitches together a story of the island nation’s struggle in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The video, directed by Kristian Mercado Figueroa (aka Kris Merc), is both a story and a call for help at once: Segarra pleads with viewers to help Puerto Rico “step forward.

“Pa’lante” is available on the Hurray for the Riff Raff album ‘The Navigator’

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Alynda Lee Segarra’s fifth album as Hurray For The Riff Raff was a dramatic departure, as she jettisoned much of the rootsy sound of her previous records and wrote an ambitious concept album with sci-fi trappings and real-world implications. “Rican Beach” confronts the gentrification of immigrant neighborhoods in New York City and the displacement of settlers to the furthest outskirts of the boroughs. The song itself is a throwback to ‘70s salsoul and Fania Records, proving that urban Latin music is just as Americana as country or bluegrass.


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Another band making serious strides in broadening the appeal of their chosen genres. Puerto Rican frontwoman, Anynda Segarra, was thrust into her career when she ran away from home at 17 and started busking to survive on the streets while studying the works of Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Memphis Minnie and Woody Guthrie.

In her latest album release, she formed the character, Navita (Latin for Navigator), who she says, “[has grown] up in a city that’s like New York, who’s a street kid, like me when I was little, that has a special place in the history of her people.” Segarra spent her late teens jumping from train-to-train, moving from the South Bronx all the way down to New Orleans.

Released in May this year, The Navigator has arrived at a time in American history when it’s most needed. While Trump spruiks fear around the country and boasts about increasing security on the Mexico-US border, Segarra loudly protests in ‘Rican Beach’, “Now all the politicians, they just flap their mouths / they say we’ll build a wall to keep them out.”

She recently put on the second edition of Nosotros Festival at New York’s Lincoln Centre, an arts event for Latinx expression and protest. “I just had enough with the dehumanization of immigrant people. I felt like, ‘I can’t do this; I can’t hear this anymore,’” she said of organising the festival to Remezcla. “I spent so much of my life running from my Latinx identity.”

Now, she’s taught herself everything she can about her Puerto Rican history and her music combines elements of traditional American folk protest songs, while implanting roots to her heritage with Afro-Caribbean percussion and empowering storytelling that tackles displacement, diaspora and racism to attempt to push back against fear mongering. Segarra is no longer running.

Creators of one of 2017s most acclaimed albums The Navigator, NYC outfit Hurray For the Riff Raff bring their genre blending Americana to the U.K in October.  
Led by NYC born Puerto Rican songwriter Alynda Segarra, a move from New Orleans back to her hometown provided the inspiration for the LP. 
Recipient of exceptional praise with a full five stars from The Observer, critics were united in praise with plaudits including 9/10 from Uncut, 8.1 from Pitchfork and four star write ups from Q, Mojo and The Skinny. 
Beautifully arranged by Michael Kiwanuka producer Paul Butler, “The Navigator” defies categorisation, drawing from cult favourite Rodriguez, Lou Reed, doo-wop, Motown and traditional Afro-Caribbean and Puerto Rican music. An inspired modern take on Americana, don’t miss the chance to see one of this year’s finest albums live at close quarters.